The start of the recruitment process for me normally kicks off once the academic year begins. September and early October you should began preparing for The Placement Exchange (TPE) Onsite event. Keep an eye out for the announcement and remember to sign-up early; this will ensure that you're able to get a hotel room close to the TPE Onsite venue. This will become very important as you will appreciate being located close to the venue for Interview Hall set-up, tear down, and breaks in between your busy interview schedule.
Another helpful hint is to plan and organize your recruitment team in October. This will allow you time to have conversations with your AVP and/or VP regarding the number of positions you anticipate hiring and whom from your team you're planning on taking to assist with recruitment (again you need to register and reserve hotel rooms early). Selecting your recruitment team can be a lot of fun.
Depending on the anticipated position(s), you should select a team that consists of on-campus interview-day logistics, one or more team members to assist with TPE Onsite interviews, plus yourself as the HERA manager. For example, if I'm searching for an Area Coordinator position, I bring a returning Area Coordinator and Lead with me.
In November, you should be reviewing and updating your job descriptions based on department and university needs. If you haven't already had the opportunity to partner with your university HR department, you should make a point to get to know them and communicate with them prior to needing their assistance. Having a good relationship with the HR team will save you lots of time and opens the door to ask for assistance or favor in times of need. Depending on the position(s) for which you're recruiting, the HR representative will let you know if it's required to have someone on the interview team who is from the same classification as the open position. I always send our contact with the university HR department a small token of appreciation and thanks for ensuring that we are meeting the standards of the university.
Your recruitment team should be busy with logistics. Make sure that you're reserving hotel rooms for days that have been selected for on-campus interviews. During this time, you should determine the number of folks you'll need to take to run an efficient TPE Onsite search and the number of open positions you'll have. You should assign all the TPE Onsite candidates who have applied for your position(s) to your recruitment team for review. In addition, you should arrange a final team meeting to discuss the candidates you wish to invite for an interview at TPE Onsite.
On our campus, we create a handbook with an updated job description, information about the campus and our wonderful students, a sample interview schedule, and information about our process once invited to campus and give the packet to candidates prior to their interview. This, too, is a fun way to show off your team, campus, and students by providing photos and quotes from team members, campus partners, and students. Your recruitment team should arrange for the printing of materials to take to TPE Onsite as well as the swag to be given along with the handbook. Normally, I make sure to only pre-schedule our top candidates and I’ll leave open a few time slots to be filled once we're at TPE Onsite. I suggest that you don't over book yourself the first two days; allow for flexibility to add same-day applicants to your interview day. (You never know when your top candidate comes to you as a referral from someone else at TPE Onsite or because a recently interviewed candidate tells a friend about you and your staff.)
Once the team is set and you're heading to TPE Onsite, you'll need to ensure that the team is prepared for the interview days. Reviewing applications from your TPE employer account will allow you to set up your interview days in advance (i.e. who from our team will interview whom). Planning ahead is very important and having control of the interview days will save you and your team from interview frustrations. You should plan to have the right amount of interview tables. I have found that having three tables at TPE Onsite works best and meets our needs (e.g., recruiting one person or as many as eight candidates). Two tables can be set up for both first- and second-round interviews, with a third table used as a work station or potential extra interview table. Make sure you're organized and that you have all of your candidates’ files, interview questions, printed materials, and pre-printed thank you or your interest note cards for candidates (i.e., when you get too many requests for interviews and don't have the time/space to schedule them). Make sure you bring tablecloths and school pride swag to decorate your interview tables. Most of all have fun with your recruitment team and make sure to take good notes on all of the candidates who you interview. This will help when deciding whom to invite for on-campus interviews.
Good luck with your search and see you at TPE Onsite!
Dr. Reyes Luna
Director of Residence Life, Cal Poly Pomona
November Executive in Residence